Headshot portrait of Arek Melkonian - Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow (Anonymous Donor)
Bio-X SIGF Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2016
Home Department: Chemical Engineering, Medicine
Faculty Advisors: Chaitan Khosla (Chemical Engineering, Chemistry), Calvin Kuo (Hematology), Joshua Elias (Chemical & Systems Biology), and Elizabeth Mellins (Pediatrics)

Research Title: Antigen presentation in coeliac disease

Research Description: Coeliac disease (CD) is an intestinal, inflammatory autoimmune disease triggered by the ingestion of gluten. A small peptide is the root cause of the immune response, but it is unclear how the immune system processes this peptide such that the body attacks itself. Arek hopes to use organoids—three-dimensionally-cultured small intestines—to investigate the mechanisms by which this peptide and its derivatives are presented to the immune system. More insight into the peptide chemistry and immunology of this process could lead to more effective therapeutics for the treatment and/or prevention of CD.


Arek is a resident in clinical pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA.